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The Drugs Issue
Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition
Growing up in a small town on the borders of Liverpool was boring. If you didn’t have a car or a friend with a car, your life was restricted to drinking in the park, sniffing glue and fighting with the same people every week. Even things like being beaten up for skating were boring because it was the same people doing the beating up every time.
This all changed when I inherited my grandad’s metallic mint green 1977 Ford Fiesta. For the next two years, me and my friends would live in that beautiful green machine. It had no stereo and made a bad noise every time I turned a corner (I later discovered that I’d separated the body of the car from its axle while crashing it into a friend’s Datsun at 60 mph on the beach) but that car meant more to me than my porno mags.
We’d travel all around the country, picking up girls, going to skate tournaments, racing each other and most memorably, we used the car to exact our revenge on our enemies by embarking on a three-year spree of vandalism and terrorism against the townsfolk.
Everybody’s talking about this new wave of drive-by shootings in London where gangs of kids draw up outside people’s houses and fire off a couple of rounds from a re-bore (V2N12) into their mum’s curtains but ten years ago, we were vandalising people’s homes every day of our lives by firing stones and rocks out of Black Widow catapults from the window of the car.
We must have broken around 400 windows over two years. Sure it was wrong, but it was some of the funniest times I’ve had in my life. The fun stopped when we were caught by the police because a woman saw us throwing an open can of baked beans through the window of some sheltered accommodation (the guilt still haunts me) and the police got our number, arrested us after an amazing car chase and beat us up in the cells. Aaah, those glorious halcyon days of breaking windows, getting blow jobs in car parks and driving through people’s front gardens and breaking down their gates (my first ever driving lesson) will always be my own personal version of The Wonder Years. That’s why the onlycomputer games that’ve held any real attraction for me are criminality-endorsing discs like the GTA series and its faster, less violent little brother, Midnight Club 3. I like them because they put me in this beautiful fantasy bubble where I’m totally untouchable and able to get away with ramming people into the ground and smashing them into pieces.
The action in the new MC3 is so addictive and fun I left a huge sweat patch on the itchy, dirt coloured, polyester wool blend sofa chair that I have in front of the TV when I play games. The gameplay reminds me of the thrill I’d get while zooming away from a fist-shaking homeowner, who’d just had a rock shot through his patio door.
The other thing we have to mention is that this time, Rockstar hired Dub Magazine to be creative collaborators on MC3. For the information of all the non-wiggers here, Dub is a funny American hip-hop magazine about cars with features like “Jadakiss Updates His $570,000 Porsche With A Platinum Beef Jerky Dispenser” and “Mannie Fresh And Fabolous Talk About Each Others Rims”.
The result of the Dub collaboration is that you get a million more ways to pimp your ride. As of writing this, I had a red and pink pearlescent Escolade with a grim reaper side print and 22 inch spinners. It’s a sensitive look with a hint of danger and, due to the Escolade’s size, a feeling of brutal indestructibility.
It’ll never have the same place in my heart as the mint green 1977 Ford Fiesta but not many things do. Sorry, Sarah.
At last, a comic book adaptation game that doesn’t have the really annoying, uninspired gameplay like that fucking wretched Spider Man game where all you do is swing from building to building and have these sub-pre-StreetFighter-Minus-100 fight scenes. This has multiple interesting weapons, entertaining-ish cut scenes and provides the player with total, unbridled, ultraviolent carnage the whole way through. Excuse me if I sound a little creepy here, but I thoroughly enjoyed the bits where you get to “interrogate” (torture) the enemies and then smash their evil bodies to bits in heavy machinery and into computers and out of windows.
Easily the best thing about this game though is the feeling of awe you experience when you realise that you are about to start a scene in none other than Tony Starks AKA Iron Man’s Starks Enterprises Building. I’ve always been a huge fan of Iron Man and that’s not just because of the Ghostface association. He’s one of the most underrated superheroes of all time. Hello? He’s Marvel’s answer to Batman, ie, a regular rich guy with no super powers, just a suit and some amazing gadgets to help him stay on top of the crime problem. The scene where Iron Man appears in the sky to help you blow up this helicopter of Russian Mafia assassins that are trying to blow you up with a bazooka made me leap out of my seat with joy and shout to my flatmate to come and check out what was occurring on screen. The one downside to this is that the ‘boss’ sections are pretty predictable and annoying to complete. Like, “when you’ve hit him four times, he comes down from the top bit and it’s even harder to kill him”. As if that hasn’t been in every single bad video game since the end of time.
All they have to do is make these games less linear, keep the surprises flowing, kill the clichés and you can sell millions more copies. Marketing campaigns and adverts (which this game must have splurged millions on judging by the flyposting all over the city) just don’t mean shit to anybody any more.